Of TripIt And Their Business Model

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TripItThis is somewhere in between a question and an idea for TripIt — definitely not a moan! as I am rather enjoying the FREE service they are providing to me right now 🙂 Truth being told, if they read this and they decide to go with my idea, I guess I’ll get a lot of cussing from everybody using it 🙂 However, I am really puzzled by this so I had to get it off my chest!

First of all, as you gathered from the above, I DO use TripIt — and I find it a rather useful service for centralizing all of my travel plans. If you’re not familiar with it, they offer this convenient service where say you book a flight online and a hotel and a car rental; quite likely for each one of them you will receive a confirmation email with details about your booking. You simply forward that email to TripIt and they build an itinerary for you and store all details in one convenient place. They are even able to provide directions to airports, hotels and so on — that comes in quite handy: having all of your travel details in one place and simply using their up to route you to the airport, then to the car rental place, then to the hotel, then once at the hotel having your reservation details and so on handy. The service is free and it IS very useful.

Having found myself using this heavily lately, I had a look at their TripIt Pro (read “premium”) service to see if there is anything else they offer which I could find useful. I don’t mind paying for useful services and as such wouldn’t mind paying for TripIt Pro — so I went to have a look at the package… only to find myself confused and disappointed. Disappointed because the things they offer (notification of delayed flights for instance) I already get through other apps: for instance, the United app or BA one already notifies me (via all sorts, emails included) about such flight delays; even more, Google has access to my emails and as such Google Now flags all flight delays to me too! Confused because I couldn’t see, in the light of the above, who would pay for this service?

So I started thinking of other ways they could devise their Pro package: at the moment I seem to be able to book unlimited itineraries in TripIt (I know this for a fact because the last few months of my life have seen me traveling allover the place!). There is no limit whatsoever for this. And needless to say for each email I’m forwarding to TripIt, and for each itinerary access, I am using their servers capacity. For which they are paying. And I am not! And as I said, while I don’t mind paying for a service I use, there is nothing in their Pro package which entices me to spend money with them.

I don’t get as such why they don’t adopt a freemium model: every month you are allowed a free itinerary. To be honest for most occasional travelers I think this is enough: enough to sort out your holidays plan, a couple of business trips a year and the odd visit to relatives/friends/whatever. Anything past an itinerary a month I would argue that makes for a business traveler and as such they can easily charge for it. As such their Pro / premium package would offer more than one itinerary management per month — maybe this in itself can be stratified a bit into mini (up to 5 a month?), maxi (10?) and unlimited (?) , not sure, just a thought, maybe there isn’t room for that… For your average user who occasionally finds himself/herself with 2 itineraries per month, there are of course other free alternatives: simply stick to your emails, or paste them all in one note in Evernote, or print them and carry with you (welcome back to the 90’s!). Or simply if you like the convenience of TripIt just pay for one month subscription! And I guess here comes another component: rather than have a yearly subscription, they would need a monthly fee — something that doesn’t break the bank (look at Netflix’s $7.99 a month for instance!) which someone can pay during the odd month when they find themselves traveling a bit.

So TripIt, if you read this, doesn’t this make sense? And if you do change your pricing to this model — can you please give me a lifetime free account? 😉